This one is for Dads…
This is a guest post from a friend of mine- David Dusek. David leads a ministry called Rough Cut Men (www.roughcutmen.org) that focuses on getting men to begin engaging with one another in an authentic and transparent way. Using major motion picture clips, men come away realizing that they are not the only ones going through lifes challenges. David using the illustrations to equip men to deal with these challenges and encourage them to “walk through life” with other men. A native of Florida, David resides in Sarasota with his wife and their five children. You can contact David through the link to his website above.
Being the father of about 412 teenagers (okay, only 5, but it sometimes seems like 412), I occasionally get blindsided by stuff, often after-the-fact. You dads know what I’m talking about: “I can’t go check the mail, Dad. I forgot to tell you that I backed over the mailbox this morning”, or “I spent the entire day with [insert the name of the person you can barely stand here] watching [insert the title of your choice of inappropriate movies here].
You would think that, after enough years and enough kids, I would have heard it all. But today just really set me off. As a disclaimer, I wasn’t upset at one of the kids. I was inflamed by the entire circumstance and I guess you get to read my tirade. And if you aren’t just as twisted over this as I am after you read it, then you may want to read it again!
Apparently it was a wedding day, and a friend-of-a-friend of one of our girls was taking her vows. It did strike me as a little odd that the wedding was at 5 PM on a Wednesday, but maybe it was the only time that the church was free? Our daughter got dressed up and headed out the door, not in what I would classify as typical wedding attire. But times have changed, right?
I guess I had no idea how much times have changed until I found out more details about the wedding, after the fact. First, the girl is pregnant, as in “shotgun wedding”. And she is sixteen. As in, “I can officially get my license now” sixteen. Or even “Four years ago, I was twelve” sixteen.
For a while now, I have been slowing coming to a rolling boil over the garbage that has become popular television for the aforementioned age demographic. Shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Liars Club” program our youth to think that it’s okay to lie. Period. There’s no overarching theme other than “Speaking mistruth is okay”. My parents wouldn’t let me watch the “Brady Bunch” if Bobby stole a cookie from Jan, for crying out loud!
The shows that really illustrate how failed we are as a society are “Sixteen and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom”. These shows glamorize being pregnant, or being a mother, while in high school, and they are just the worst kind of crap. Both pregnancy and motherhood are reserved for women at least five or ten years older, and only as an integrated part of marriage to a husband. The shows depict young ladies, living at home, gleefully preparing baby bedrooms under the roof of their respective parents. And it’s just wrong!
You know what else is missing, in large part, from the expecting teenagers homes? One word: DAD.
Here’s the deal, men. We are morally, financially, spiritually and legally responsible for our girls. When they turn 18, the government says that they can vote, die for our country and even pay their own consequences for bad decisions as an adult. But guess what? Even when they turn 18, we are STILL morally, spiritually and usually financially responsible for them.
I don’t know about you, but I am all for averting disaster. We must do our job as dad to ensure the greatest odds of success for our girls. By “do our job”, I am not talking about providing for them. That’s just part of the deal when you have a kid. Providing would be the ‘minimum acceptable standard’ of being their father.
Here are a few guidelines to follow if you are bringing up girls (and yeah, it’s a lot different from raising boys):
- Tell her how beautiful she is. There is a strong probability that she feels ugly today…just sayin’
- Tell her that you love her. A lot!
- Hug her. A lot!
- Take her out on a date every few weeks, or every week if you can. Show her what a “normal” evening should look like.
- Model love, respect and service towards your wife. Remember, more is caught than taught. She is going to look for someone just like you, like it or not.
Here’s a thought to remember, guys. If we aren’t loving on our daughters, somebody else will be. Some guys prey on girls, and EVERY girl needs to feel loved, appreciated and beautiful. That’s YOUR job!
Guard your princess!